The vaccine jolt fades, sinking global stocks—except for this one surprising sector
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Good morning. That didn’t last long. The vaccine rally is on pause this morning. Even Nasdaq futures, Wednesday’s big winner, are down as a decidedly risk-off mood hangs over global markets.
There is one big exception: Chinese tech stocks are off multi-day lows, bouncing back nicely.
Meanwhile, the latest COVID data shows new records from Tokyo to Texas.
Let’s check in on the action.
- The major Asia indexes are mixed in afternoon trading with Japan’s Nikkei up 0.7%.
- Alibaba raked in $75 billion in sales from its Singles Day promotion this year, nearly doubling last year’s haul. Its shares are up 2% in Hong Kong, after it and the entire Chinese tech sector took a pummeling in recent days. Alibaba rival JD.com is up 7.7%.
- Who says global trade is in trouble? China and 14 other Asia Pacific countries are close to signing a free-trade pact, the world’s biggest.
- The European bourses were a blur of red out of the gates with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.8% .
- We finally have a pandemic price tag for Europe’s banks. According to the ECB, the continent’s lenders face a €1.4 trillion fiscal cliff in the coming months as bad loans pile up, and the eurozone economies struggle to climb out of recession.
- We’ll be debating the logic of lockdowns for years to come, but there’s an interesting development happening in Europe: a number of countries are seeing a drop in the number of new COVID cases since imposing partial shutdown orders. Could it be a sign they’re flattening the curve? (Ahem, I’d like to see more progress here in Italy before waving the “Mission Accomplished” flag… É un pó presto qua nel bel paese.)
- U.S. futures point to a weak open after Wednesday’s impressive tech bounce-back.
- Shares in Moderna spiked more than 8% on Wednesday—and again this morning in pre-market trading—after the biotech firm announced promising data on its COVID vaccine trial. The concoction is similar enough to Pfizer’s, stoking plenty of optimism.
- Goldman Sachs revised upwards its year-end S&P 500 price target following Monday’s blockbuster Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine trial announcement.
- Gold is up, but it’s been a week to forget for the shiny yellow stuff. It’s trading below $1,870/ounce.
- The dollar is flat.
- Crude too has traded in wild swings this week. Brent futures are down, trading below $44/barrel this morning.
- Will Bitcoin top $16,000 today? Crypto bulls are running up the price… A reminder: for the latest on all things crypto, check out Fortune‘s fabulous newsletter, The Ledger.
Next stop: 3,700
Goldman Sachs tore up its year-end stocks projection now that we have more visibility on a vaccine, and that we now know it will be a Biden presidency (with a likely split Congress). With that in mind, Goldman says the benchmark S&P will climb another 3.5% this year to close at 3,700. It will keep climbing from there in 2021 and 2022.
The bottom line: growth
Goldman Sachs sees a tradeoff in the scenario where we have a Democrat in the White House and a Republican-led Senate. That would likely mean a tax hike is a non-starter as would be a generous stimulus package. Even still, earnings should rebound impressively next year for S&P 500 companies under such a power-sharing scenario, up 29%, Goldman forecasts.
Big Bets, Loonie edition
A vaccine should give a boost to commodities in the year to come. And, higher crude and copper prices should benefit the Aussie dollar and the Canadian buck, Goldman says. Here’s GS’s best FX bets for the year to come:
Have a nice day, everyone. I’ll see you here tomorrow… But first, there’s more news below.
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The pool of U.S. Treasurys will soon surge to $20.5 trillion, equal to 100% of U.S. GDP. That's not such a worry as long as global demand for U.S. sovereign debt remains robust. But with the dollar in free fall, national debt soaring and yields on the 10-year note well below inflation (at <1%), there are plenty of reasons to sweat the future of the fixed-income market. The Economist has an excellent take on it. "Usually a haven, the Treasury market convulsed," the newspaper writes.